Windsor Hills derives its name from the Windsor Mill, an 18th century
grist mill that was located on the Gwynns Falls, probably at the
Windsor Mill Road bridge. The site of this bridge was described
in 1757 as "William Miller's Ford", implying the existence
of a homestead that may have included a mill. The date of construction
of this long-vanished mill is unknown, but first appeared in documents,
as being for sale, in 1784. At about that time the Windsor Mill
was described as a three story structure with three waterwheels.
The mill was last mentioned in documents in 1818, and soon thereafter
a mill downstream, in today's Rosemont area, took the Windsor Mill
name. Windsor Mill Road obviously also derives its name for this
mill, although it existed as a nameless local thoroughfare connecting
farms west of today's Dickeyville area with the Garrison Road, as
early as 1730.
Parts of today's Windsor Hills area were patented as land grants
as early as the 1690's, with the enormous 2000 acre "Parishes
Range" tract including the northern portion of Windsor Hill,
and "Crowley's First Venture" including a southern portion
adjacent to the Gwynn's Falls. However, due to the hilly terrain,
Windsor Hills was unsuitable for farming, and early settlement in
the area was very sparse. Other than the Windsor Mill, the only
18th century settlement of note in the area was the Tschudi Mill,
constructed in 1770 along the Gwynn's Falls, upstream. This mill
was closer to the Dickeyville area than to Windsor Hills, and the
history of the Tschudi settlement is described in the Dickeyville
A unique vestige of early settlement in Windsor Hills existed well
into this century (1936 - still exists?) -- an ancient 120' giant
of a tulip poplar tree that was used as a landmark by surveyors
in 1759. This tree was (is) located in the 2600 block of Queen Anne
Road, and is believed to have been used as a lighthouse for sailing
vessels by hanging lanterns from its upper branches.
By the mid-19th century all or part of the estates of several families
included parts of the Windsor Hills area. West of today's Chelsea
Avenue, north of Windsor Mill Road, Mrs. Adele Bujac and Mr. Alfred
Bujac built adjoining schools -- "Monticello," for girls,
and "Tusculum" its twin to the west, for boys. A southern
portion of Windsor Hills was owned by Thomas Winans whose "Crimea"
estate was located nearby, in today's Leakin Park just east of Franklintown.
Much of the northern portion was part of Jesse Slingluff's "Oakfield"
estate (not his primary country estate, which was "Beech Hill"
in toady's Walbrook area). The middle portion approximately between
today's Fairfax Road and Bateman Avenue as part of George Repold
Vicker's "Mount Alto" estate. Most of the Slingluff and
Vickers properties were later developed as Forest Park and Walbrook.
In the years following the Civil War, the Bujacs' schools were
sold and converted to private residences -- Tusculum sold to Charles
Hilgenberg and Monticello to William Prescott Webb. These estates
continued to be owned by these families until well into this century.
Tusculum was bought for residential development in 1911, and Monticello
was bought by the City in 1925 and razed for the construction of
Windsor Hills School.
In 1889 Edwin Tunis, the first pioneer of modern Windsor Hills,
bought property in the area. Mr. Tunis both built his own residence
in Windsor Hills and contributed greatly to the early development
of the community. The North Avenue Land Company, and the Windsor
Park Company, both of which Edwin Tunis helped found, were responsible
for the early development of Windsor Hills. In 1896 the Winans property
just north of the Gwynn's Falls was bought, and by the end of the
century the first few houses were constructed. The first house to
be built in Windsor Hills was known as "The Cliffs," a
large brown shingled Victorian house backing on the Gwynns Falls
valley. Much of the foundation stone and terracing for The Cliffs
came from an abandoned nearby 18th century grist mill, possibly
the original Windsor Mill. By 1906 about twenty houses had been
built, primarily along streets south of Queen Anne Road. Early streets,
such as Queen Anne, Prince George, and Talbot Roads were named after
As with much turn-or-the-century residential development in Baltimore
City, the growth of Windsor Hills coincided with improvements and
extensions to nearby public transportation lines. In 1870 the Baltimore,
Calverton and Powhatan Railway started a horse-drawn streetcar service
from the terminus of the Red Line, where connections could be made
to and from the downtown, west through Walbrook, and along Windsor
Mill Road to the mill village of Powhatan, which existed just outside
today's Baltimore City limits at the site of Woodlawn Cemetery.
The BC&P never provided more than marginal service, yet it was
greatly missed by local residents when it discontinued its Windsor
Mill Road route in the early 1890's. To compensate for this loss,
affected patrons created in 1894 an electrical trolley line, the
Gwynns Falls Railway, which ran about a mile along Windsor Mill
Road from Walbrook Junction to the Gwynns Falls. This line was taken
over by the (Baltimore?) Traction Company in 1897.
Other streetcar service was also available by the this time on
Garrison Boulevard. The Tunis family was involved with the creation
of the Gwynns Falls Railway, which was originally planned as a monorail,
along the innovative designs of Howard Hansel Tunis, an engineer
and nephew to Ed Tunis. An experimental circular-tracked monorail
was eventually built about the turn of the century on Tunis property,
near the intersection of today's Prince George and Lawina Roads.
Howard Tunis and a son of Edwin each designed plats for Windsor
Hills. Innovative for the time, there plans created lot lines that
took advantage of the natural contours of the land.
As with Howard Park and Gwynn Oak Park to the northwest, Windsor
Hills had in the 1890's the contemporary establishment of an amusement
park and electric trolley service to the area. Ridgewood Park was
a small park offering swings, a merry-go-round, and other amusement,
and existed for a short time on the Windsor Mill Road in Windsor
Hills. So short was its existence that its precise location is unknown
Development increased in Windsor Hills, especially north of Loudon
Avenue and Alto Road, during the teens and 1920's, with almost all
houses built in the single family detached, wood frame and shingle
cottage style. A 1916 newspaper advertisement described cottage
lots for sale in Windsor Hills as being "restricted against
rows of brick buildings, saloons, and all nuisances." A few
rowhouses were built in Windsor Hills, with a group of Daylight
houses in the 4000 block of Clifton Avenue advertised for sale by
James A. Bealmear and Son, in 1929.
The Windsor Hills Improvement Association was formed during the
early days of the community, and served primarily a social function
for the somewhat isolated early suburban pioneers. After a dormant
period, the association revived in the 1950's to fight undesirable
zoning changes, to protect property owners from unscrupulous block
busting real estate salesmen, and to promote orderly integration
of the community.